Best of our wild blogs: 20-21 Aug 19

Singaporeans are Already Ashamed Of What Isn’t Being Done to Fight Climate Change
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ICCS Workshop for Organisers (Final Session no. 4)
News from the International Coastal Cleanup

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Engineering solutions to tackle rising sea levels important but more research vital: Experts

Matthew Mohan Channel NewsAsia 19 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: Experts on Monday (Aug 19) welcomed the possibility of implementing engineering solutions such as land reclamation to tackle rising sea levels but stressed the need for more research into the impact of climate change.

This follows Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 18), during which he highlighted that Singapore is susceptible to the effects of climate change and vulnerable to rising sea levels.

As part of strengthening the Republic's coastal defences, Mr Lee explained that one solution could be a reclamation method known as empoldering.

Polders are created by first building a seawall in the water, before pumping out the water behind the seawall to create dry land. This land can be lower than the sea level, but water has to be continually pumped out.

Another alternative would be to reclaim a series of islands offshore, from Marina East to Changi, said Mr Lee. In addition, there are also plans to build a second pump house at Marina Barrage, he added.

Speaking to CNA, Associate Professor Adam Switzer of Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) said that "carefully engineered reclamations and flood defences including polders" could be the "best option" for Singapore.

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Malaysia: Manage water resources better, urges Johor Regent

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 20 Aug 19;

JOHOR BARU: The Regent of Johor Tengku Mahkota Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, wants the state government to better manage its precious water resources.

This comes after Tunku Ismail, who was appointed as the Regent on Aug 11, attended a briefing on Johor’s water management at Bangunan Dato’ Jaafar Muhammad in Kota Iskandar on Sunday.

In a statement posted on Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar’s official Facebook page, Tunku Ismail said he takes a serious view of issues on pollution and mismanagement of water in the state.

He has urged the state government to start taking the necessary action to rehabilitate Johor’s waters and stamp out pollution.

Tunku Ismail also decreed that the state government should better manage its water resources and educate the public on proper water usage and awareness.

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Malaysia: Johor expected not to depend on treated water supply from Singapore in 2022

Bernama 19 Aug 19;

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources expects Johor to no longer be dependent on the supply of treated water from Singapore by 2022, said its Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

He said the effort to reduce the dependency of treated water supply from Singapore was by ensuring treated water in Johor was sufficient.

“We have to make sure that Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore. Which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor.

“The capacity must reach 260 million litres a day. We already have an understanding that by the year 2022, we will have this capacity,” he told reporters after receiving a courtesy visit from Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal here today.

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Pulau Brani: 5 historical nuggets from an island set for a makeover

Channel NewsAsia 20 Aug 19;

SINGAPORE: It’s always been there.

But rarely has Pulau Brani made the headlines in recent years, until it became a significant part of Singapore’s plans to develop the Greater Southern Waterfront.

On Sunday (Aug 18), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gave an overview of the revamp that’s in store for the island during his National Day Rally speech.

Currently home to the Brani Terminal, which opened in 1992, the island will be redeveloped to host a range of lifestyle and tourist attractions - similar to what can be found next door in Sentosa.

As Pulau Brani awaits a new future, a look back in time at how the island evolved.

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Trash Talk: No time to waste in dealing with Singapore’s mounting trash problem

LOW YOUJIN Today Online 21 Aug 19;

With Singapore having declared 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, TODAY’s new four-part Trash Talk series examines the issue of waste management and how Singaporeans can do our part to reduce waste. In the first instalment, we look at where our trash ends up, what happens to it, and why we urgently need to cut down waste.  

SINGAPORE — Some 8km south of Singapore, there is an island where the expired tub of yoghurt you threw out last week meets the old batteries that your friend dumped in the trash, and they commingle with the pile of tissues that your colleague went through during a recent bout of cold. 

This island is Semakau, and it is in trouble. 

Most of us have probably heard of it, but few have likely put much thought into this final resting place for all the dirty, used and unwanted detritus from our lives.

Well, now is the time to start thinking and talking about it. The Semakau landfill, a critical element in keeping Singapore as famously spotless as it is today, is set to run out of space by 2035.

Where will our trash go then?

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‘Less trash’ left behind at NDP 2019, but empty plastic bottles, food wrappers among litter lying around


SINGAPORE — The total trash collected after the National Day Parade (NDP) on Aug 9 was lower than the amount left behind in previous years, said the parade organisers in response to TODAY’s queries. 

However, they declined to reveal the statistics. Based on TODAY’s observations, many spectators were spotted carrying bags of rubbish with them as they left the venue. As a result, the stands were generally clear of litter. Still, items such as empty plastic bottles from the funpack, used tissue paper and food wrappers were seen lying around. 

“Despite the higher number of spectators present at this year’s NDP, the total trash collected was lower than previous years,” said Military Expert 6 (ME6) Ignatius Tham, who chairs the parade’s logistics and finance committee. 

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Malaysia: All out to save the sun bear

MEI MEI CHU The Star 20 Aug 19;

PETALING JAYA: As alarm bells ring with Malaysia’s Sumatran rhino population plummeting to a single surviving female, one wildlife biologist is racing to set up a captive breeding programme for the critically-endangered Malayan Sun Bear.

Malaysia’s leading sun bear conservationist Wong Siew Te (pic) is targeting to launch the programme by 2025 at his Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) in Sandakan, Sabah.

“Forest fragmentation is becoming increasingly serious, more poachers have access to forested areas and I’ve seen places that used to have lots of sun bears now no longer have any, ” Wong said in an interview.

He said the empty forest syndrome was growing in Malaysia.

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Iman, Malaysia's last Sumatran rhino ready to undergo IVF treatment

Mohd Izham Unnip Abdullah New Straits Times 20 Aug 19;

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia's last female Sumatran rhinoceros has regained her health after receiving treatment for uterine tumour last year.

Iman who resides at the Borneo Rhinoceros Sanctuary (BRS) in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu is the last of her kind in this country after her partner Kertam died of old age and internal organ failure on May 27.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said although she was still receiving follow-up treatment to prevent the tumour from becoming worse, Iman is now back to her normal self and her appetite has completely improved.

He said the rhinoceros is also prepared to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment with the sperm of a male Sumatran rhinoceros via a collaboration with Indonesia.

They were now waiting for help from an expert in Germany.

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Malaysia: Wild elephant terrorises Orang Asli family

The Star 21 Aug 19;

GUA MUSANG: A family of seven Orang Asli were in fear of a wild elephant that kept walking around their house in Kampung Aring 5, here.

Fortunately for the family, the animal left without incident an hour after first arriving early yesterday morning. It was seen entering the nearby jungle.

Villager Hussin Selik, 51, said this was the second such incident in two weeks.

The elephant, he said, entered the village at 3am yesterday.

Hussin said he started to worry for his family when the elephant circled his house before leaving.

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Indonesia: Hotspot detection across Sumatra Island reaches 260

Antara 19 Aug 19;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - A total of 260 hotspots were identified throughout Sumatra Island on Monday morning, suggestive of forest and peatland fires.

Analyst at the Pekanbaru Meteorology Station Nia Fadhila stated here on Monday that South Sumatra was found to contain the largest number of hotspots, reaching 97.

Hotspots were also found in Jambi, totaling 75; Riau, 57; Bangka Belitung, 13; Riau, nine; Lampung, eight; and North Sumatra, one.

In Riau, 22 hotspots were detected in Indragiri Hilir, 21 in Pelalawan, nine in Meranti, three in Indragiri Hulu, and one each in Bengkalis and Rohil.

Visibility was quite good in Pekanbaru, reaching seven kilometers; five kilometers in Pelalawan; four kilometers in Rengat; and six kilometers in Dumai.

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Two tigers seized from traffickers every week, report finds

Closure of tiger farms among urgent steps needed to protect species, wildlife summit hears
Damian Carrington The Guardian 21 Aug 19;

Two illegally smuggled tigers per week are being seized by officials, according to a report, but this represents only a tiny fraction of those being killed.

The report, by the wildlife trade experts Traffic, was released at a summit of 183 countries under the Convention in the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), where many delegates have called for stronger action.

Traffic also found a surge since 2012 in seized carcasses, skins and bones from tiger farms. International trade in the species is banned, but the researchers said the captive-breeding facilities, mainly in China, undermine their protection by maintaining demand in domestic markets and enabling the laundering of wild tiger products.

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